Lay assessors block judge's guilty verdict on
Tsvangirai By Peta Thornycroft in Harare (Filed:
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, might
have been convicted of high treason yesterday but for the intervention of two
lay assessors helping to hear the trial.
Senior legal sources in
Harare disclosed that Mr Justice Paddington Garwe, who presided over the
trial, had wanted to find Mr Tsvangirai guilty, but the verdict was delayed
because of the assessors' insistence that they be fully
Zimbabwe has no jury system and cases are routinely tried by a
judge sitting with two lay assessors. Matters of law are decided by the judge
alone. Questions of fact must be resolved by a majority of the panel of
The verdict in the trial of Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement
for Democratic Change, was due to be delivered in Harare's High Court
yesterday. Treason carries a possible death penalty. But the procedural
concerns expressed by the two assessors forced a postponement.
say this is the first time in Zimbabwe's history that judgment has been
delayed in such circumstances. "I've never heard of this in my 30 years in
law," said Adrian de Bourbon, a former chairman of Zimbabwe's
Mr Tsvangirai was placed on trial after
unsuccessfully challenging Robert Mugabe for Zimbabwe's presidency in
elections two years ago which western observers said were neither free nor
fair. He was charged with treason for allegedly plotting to kill President
Mugabe and mount a coup.
Last month, Mr Justice Garwe informed Mr
Tsvangirai's defence lawyers that judgment would be delivered on July 29. But
a week ago, his office told the lawyers that judgment had been
The Daily Telegraph has established from a senior legal source
in Harare that Mr Justice Garwe was prepared to deliver a guilty verdict
without consulting the assessors, Misheck Nyandoro and Joseph Dangarembizi,
but he could not do so. The two men demanded to study the 2,000-page
transcript of the trial.
Lawyers for the prosecution had presented
secretly recorded video footage of a meeting between Mr Tsvangirai and Ari
Ben Menashe, a Canadian political consultant.
During this encounter,
Mr Tsvangirai was recorded discussing the "elimination" of Mr Mugabe. The
defence claims that he was enticed to use the word six times.
prosecution said the opposition leader was plotting the president's murder.
But Mr Mugabe's regime had secretly engaged Mr Ben Menashe as a political
consultant and paid him more than £400,000. Mr Tsvangirai's lawyers argued
that he had been the victim of a political "sting".
During the trial, Mr
Justice Garwe agreed with the prosecution that Mr Ben Menashe's contract with
the Zimbabwean government should not be disclosed because it would be
"prejudicial to national security".
Public records show that Mr Justice
Garwe, who is Judge President of the High Court, ranking second only to the
Chief Justice, is one of 12 High Court judges who have been awarded formerly
Zimbabwe's judiciary once enjoyed a worldwide
reputation as the most independent in Africa. The regime's political
opponents have been placed on trial before - yet independent-minded judges
have often acquitted them.
The handling of Mr Tsvangirai's trial has
appalled many lawyers, who believe that Zimbabwe's legal system has been
compromised. "Every one of us is frightened to talk out and be identified
about this case and many others," said a partner in a large legal
"We're complicit because we continue to practise as if there was
a respectable legal system when it is a charade."
a.. Lawyers for the
prosecution in the trial of 70 suspected mercenaries in Zimbabwe want South
African intelligence agents to give evidence, it
Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa's intelligence
minister, disclosed last month that the men were arrested at Harare
international airport following a tip-off from his agents.
Zimbabwe in talks with SA intellegence on 'mercenaries'
30, 2004, 08:18
A Zimbabwe magistrate yesterday postponed until August 18
the trial of 70 suspected mercenaries accused of plotting a coup in
Equatorial Guinea. The lawyer for the men says the state asked for more time
to liaise with the National Intelligence of SA to get agents to testify
against the men.
Alwyn Griebenauw says he was surprised by this because
the authorities in South Africa have said they have no evidence regarding
conspiracy. Griebenauw says at the moment he does not know who will be asked
to be witnesses on the South African side. He hopes they will be given
the necessary information before the trial date.
Simon Mann, the man
regarded as the leader of the group, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to
attempting to possess dangerous weapons. Mann, a former member of Britain's
elite Special Air Service commando force, who holds British and South African
citizenship, denied purchasing the weapons.
Earlier this week 67 other
members of the group pleaded guilty and were convicted of contravening
Zimbabwe's immigration and aviation laws when their plane landed in Harare in
Nkomo hits back Dumisai Muleya ZANU PF chairman
John Nkomo has warned ruling party "infil-trators and saboteurs" playing to
the gallery in the deepening multiple farm allocation row that their antics
will no longer be tolerated.
Nkomo, who is also Land, Land Reform and
Resettlement minister, said he was proceeding to recover surplus farms
ministers and high-ranking officials were allocated, despite protests by
He said the angry obfuscations by those "defending the
in-defensible" would not scare him or frustrate his efforts to retrieve the
farms from land-grabbers.
"I won't be intimidated, per-turbed or
frustrated by those causing all this hullabaloo," Nkomo said.
are some people now abusing Zanu PF for personal ambitions and gain. As
chairman of Zanu PF and, indeed, as minister I will stand firm in defence of
the party. Zanu PF has come a long way and at different times it has
had infiltrators and people planted within - the fifth columnists - but
they have always been flushed out."
Nkomo said he would not sink so
low as to engage in mudslinging because the seized farms would eventually be
taken anyway. He said whoever was writing the Sunday Mail's weekly column
under the name Lowani Ndlovu "does not think" because he was trying to
"defend the indefensible". Mirror publisher Ibbo Mandaza also slammed the
seemingly ghostly writer - widely thought to be a voluble cabinet minister -
this week for attacking people under cover of anonymity.
Zanu PF would not accept elements within the party to "abuse" its name to
promote personal agendas, while whittling away at its reputation.
can't have people who behave like the opposition among us. Sooner or later
Zanu PF shall cleanse itself of these elements," he said.
the increasingly messy wrangle with fellow ministers who had more than one
farm recently after he wrote to them saying he was taking back their extra
land holdings. The officials included ministers Jonathan Moyo (I nformation
and Publicity), Ignatius Chombo (Local Government), Joseph
Made (Agriculture), Patrick Chinmasa (Justice) and Chris Mu-shohwe
(Transport). The mini-sters denied that they owned surplus farms, either
saying they had now abandoned them or that they were allocated to their
Moyo, who was deemed to have three farms, said the withdrawal
letters were "preposterous and annoying". He said the safari farm, cited as
Lot 2 of Dete in Hwange, was withdrawn and allocated to a Mrs Jackie Mayers,
who is his cousin.
Moyo has also denied ownership of a farm in
Bubi-Mguza area, saying it was allocated to his mother. He has further denied
that he had an interest in Little Connemara, claiming that it "dramatised the
malice" behind the letter of withdrawal. But Nkomo said such things would not
"Lowani Ndlovu" two weeks ago attacked Nkomo and other
officials charged with land reform, saying the current events showed that
"they don't think at all". He also indirectly attack-ed President Robert
Mugabe when he said his recent split-ting of land ministries did not
Judge slams Chinamasa Staff Writer FORMER
Administrative Court president Michael Majuru has accused Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa of interference in the protracted legal wrangle over the
closure of the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday.
Majuru, who fled to
South Africa last year after being hounded by state security agents and
politicians, claimed Chinamasa intervened when he was dealing with the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe case.
He said the minister put him
under pressure to rule against the Daily News and its sister paper because
they "promoted British interests".
Contacted for comment yesterday,
Chinamasa said he was preparing an appropriate response to Majuru's claims
but said it would not be ready by the time of going to press. The minister
threatened to sue the Zimbabwe Independent over Majuru's story.
thought I should just remind you that it is now a year after he
(Majuru) resigned," Chinamasa said. "You should ask yourself why he is saying
this after a year. I do not know what his motive is but you should be
prepared to be sued if you publish the story."
have been carried in the South African media. Chinamasa said he had seen the
In a statement sent to the Independent yesterday, Majuru
said Chinamasa tried to dragoon him into making a ruling in favour of the
Media and Information Commission (MIC).
He also claimed prominent
businessman Enock Kamushinda offered him a farm to influence him to rule
against the ANZ.
Majuru said Chinamasa en-tered the fray after the
ANZ had appealed to the Administrative Court against the MIC's refusal to
issue the newspaper group with a licence. This followed a Supreme Court
ruling which ordered ANZ to first seek registration before its constitutional
challenge against the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
could be heard.
"Chinamasa at this point called a fellow judge that I
was working with to his offices. He instructed my colleague on the bench that
the application for an urgent appeal hearing was to be refused and that the
appeal should only be heard towards the end of January or in early February,"
"The reasons given by Chinamasa were that the paper (Daily
News) was British-funded and therefore promoting British
Majuru said Chinamasa also claimed the Daily News would
interfere with, and therefore jeopardise, ongoing talks between Zanu PF and
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which were said to have
reached a "delicate stage".
"As proof of the delicate stage the
talks had reached, the minister showed this fellow judge documents on some of
the constitutional amendments allegedly agreed upon between the ruling party
and the members of the opposition aforesaid," Majuru said.
instructions of the minister were duly conveyed to me by my fellow judge. As
you will recall, I presided over the application for an urgent appeal and
granted it, in spite of the pressure from the minister."
Kamushinda, who was chairman of Metropolitan Bank and Zimpapers, "invited" me
to his offices through an intelligence officer. He said Kamushinda promised
him a farm if he ruled against the ANZ, saying other judges had already been
given land. But Majuru said he refused.
"On a Thursday evening at
about 9pm when I was still in the office writing the judgement, minister
Chinamasa phoned me from Bulawayo where he was attending a pre-budget
seminar," Majuru recalled.
"He demanded to know what my decision was
going to be in the matter. He also insisted on knowing whether my decision
was not 'going to get me into trouble'."
Majuru said he advised
Chinamasa that he was almost through with his ruling which would go against
the MIC. He said Chinamasa took him to task over the issue, ordering him to
give his reasons for the judgement. He said the minister and intelligence
agents continued to put pressure on him, leading to his departure to South
Harare MDC councillors set to quit Augustine
Mukaro THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has mooted
withdrawing all its Harare councillors after 13 of them were dismissed by
government last week.
Councillors who spoke to the Zimbabwe
Independent said the MDC national executive resolved to withdraw its
councillors in April when Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo rendered
the council ineffective by firing Harare's first elected executive mayor
Elias Mudzuri and barring the city from holding full council
"Councillors' withdrawal decision was put on hold in the
hope that they could fight on through defying Chombo's directives," one
"The fight also included passing a vote of no
confidence in Sekesai Makwavarara (acting mayor) and electing a new deputy
mayor to regain control of Town House. Chombo made our mandate impossible by
suspending and subsequently dismissing the councilllors when they voted out
Makwavarara during a full council meeting."
The councillors were
suspended in May on allegations of disrupting council operations. Thirteen
were dismissed last week.
The councillors said current developments
at Town House made a mockery of the claim that an MDC council was running
Harare. They said Chombo and governor Witness Mangwende had effectively taken
"Councillors no longer have any say in the affairs of the city so
there is no need to remain there. Government's newly-appointed James
Kurasha-headed committee is already sitting in decision-making meetings,"
another councillor said.
Chombo this week said the Kurasha
committee would work in conjunction with the council and resident minister
The councillors said there was no need to continue taking
flak for poor service delivery when Zanu PF was responsible.
mandate as elected leaders has been usurped, making it impossible for us to
serve the people who elected us. The whole thing has degenerated into a dirty
political game instead of a fight to improve the welfare of the urban
electorate," the councillor said.
Sources said the MDC was already
working on the logistics of a withdrawal.
MDC Local Government secretary
Jobert Mudzumwe said a committee would soon be set up to decide the way
In total, 19 MDC councillors have been fired by Chombo since
the opposition shocked Zanu PF out of its entrenched positions in urban
Gono attacks 'A5 farmers' Goodfrey
Marawanyika RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono this week gingerly
stepped into a political minefield when he made a veiled attack on people who
invade farms and vandalise projects that earn the country foreign
Announcing his monetary policy in Harare on Tuesday, Gono said
there was now a new breed of farmers who were not in the A1 or A2
"We now have a new set of farmers who want to reap where
they did not sow. These farmers, we have decided to call them A5 farmers," he
"When we take over a farm and destroy greenhouses, we are
destroying our source of foreign currency," said Gono.
apparently in reference to the government's land reform in which war veterans
and other Zanu PF supporters have invaded horticultural projects and those
enjoying Export Processing Zone status.
"Achievement of sustainable
agricultural productivity requires that, at the national level, comprehensive
marketing arrangements be put in place, adequately protecting the interests
of farmers, buyers of produce and the end users - our communities in
Last month, the International Monetary Fund gave Zimbabwe a
six-month reprieve to make meaningful efforts to settle its debts. It raised
concerns on issues pertaining to property and governance.
Gono also lashed out at those who violate property laws. He said successful
recovery of the agricultural sector should be supported by marketing
arrangements that would ward off problems experienced in contract growing
"Under such circumstances, 'fly-by-harvest-time' traders
have cropped up, offering prices that are out of tune with overhead
structures, effectively destabilising the production and marketing chain," he
reitereated on Tuesday.
"Those same traders, in most cases, would
not have supported the farmers to begin with, only pitching up mid-stream in
the agricultural season to reap what they have not sown."
said the envisaged improvement in the foreign exchange situation, the decline
in inflation coupled with the avoidance of policy reversals, would assist in
rebuilding the image of the country.
"As monetary authorities, we
want to register our immense appreciation to the International Monetary Fund
and the World Bank for their continued support in our turnaround programme,"
"The six-month window of opportunity the country has been
given to consolidate its turnaround programme will be fully utilised to
further align the policy framework with the vision of balanced and sustained
economic growth," he said.
Political violence resurfaces Gift Phiri POLITICAL
violence has resurfaced with greater intensity ahead of the general election
scheduled for March next year, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
Tsvangirai in his weekly message said Zanu PF militants had been
attacking his party's leaders and disrupting their rallies. The MDC leader
said ruling party supporters in Buhera disrupted his meeting last Wednesday.
He said there was an attempt on his life in Mvurwi last
Tsvangirai was confronted by a group of war veterans at Marenga
Business Centre near Birchneough Bridge last week. He said tension was also
high at Domboshava Business Centre in Goromonzi last Saturday. A group of
war veterans based at a squatter camp known as Sally Mugabe Heights
outside Harare's Borrowdale suburb tried to disrupt Tsvangirai's meeting.
"They shouted obscenities and threatened those at the meeting with
death," Tsvangirai said.
Meanwhile, a group of about 50 Zanu PF
militias abducted Bob Makone, the younger brother of MDC official Ian Makone,
and force-marched him to a Zanu PF base after a rally addressed by Education
minister Aeneas Chigwedere at Musavadye School in Wedza also last Saturday.
Makone was severely assaulted the whole night by the Zanu PF thugs and
released on Sunday morning.
The group returned to the Makone
homestead in the morning chanting anti-MDC slogans and accused Theresa
Makone, the party's candidate for Wedza constituency in the forthcoming
parliamentary election, of being a sellout. They demanded that she be killed
for daring to stand on an MDC ticket.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba
Nyathi said it was appalling that Chigwedere, who is also the current Wedza
MP, should encourage "barbaric and diabolic acts" in a desperate effort to
retain power when President Robert Mugabe has been calling for peace.
MDC completes poll survey Itai Dzamara MOVEMENT for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his party has completed
a survey across the country which reveals that people are not willing to
participate in an election that is not guaranteed to be free
In an interview last week, Tsvangirai said his party has
held meetings countrywide to determine people's expectations.
our meetings countrywide, people were not anxious about taking part in an
election with a predetermined outcome. They said they would rather stay at
home," said Tsvangirai.
"The questions they raised were best answered
by the setting up of essential institutional safeguards to attend to open
electoral infringements witnessed in Zimbabwe during the past five
The MDC is currently carrying out a consultative process
which started off with 12 provincial committees and is now at the level of
district committees, Tsvangirai said.
"A position will come out of
this process and we will decide what to do in the event that Zanu PF fails to
provide a conducive electoral framework," he said.
He said the MDC
would convene a conference towards election time bringing together provincial
and district committees to review the situation and make a decision on the
Meanwhile, MDC spo-kesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi this
week said the opposition party was almost through with the process of
selecting candidates to contest next year's polls.
"We still use
the selection process that has been in place since the formation of the
party. Our constitution stipulates that two thirds of members in district
committees must confirm the candidature of a seating MP," Nyathi
"In that event, the sitting MP is eligible to represent the
party. If the incumbent MP fails to get the two thirds support, then the
doors are opened for all those interested in standing in that particular
constituency to mount their challenges. At that stage a sort of primary
election would be held."
Out of the 51 legislators for the MDC, 42
have been confirmed to contest next year's elections, Nyathi
Five MPs will have to contest against aspiring candidates for
the right to represent the MDC in their constituencies after failing to get
endorsement from district committees. These are Trudy Stevenson of Harare
North, Sydney Mukwecheni of Mutare North, Tichaona Munyanyi of Mbare East,
Bethel Makwembere of Mkoba and Danmore Makuwaza of Mbare West.
late Ben Tumbare-Mutasa of Seke had also failed to get endorsement. There are
three constituencies in which the MDC's district committees are yet to decide
on the eligibility of incumbent MPs. These are Hwange East, Gwanda North and
The MDC will also be fielding candidates in the other
constituencies across the country where it failed to win or contest in the
2000 elections, Nyathi said.
Church leaders under pressure Shakeman Mugari AS
the campaign for the upcoming election gets under way, Zanu PF is understood
to be urging church leaders in Seke constituency to compel
their congregations to attend a political rally scheduled for
Village headmen and chiefs have also been told to bring their
subjects to the rally. Acting Finance minister Herbert Murerwa and the
party's 2000 parliamentary election losing candidate Phineas Chihota are
expected to address the rally.
A rally scheduled for last Sunday
flopped after residents snubbed it. The ruling party has now resorted to
coercion to boost numbers, critics say.
This comes barely a week
after the death of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP for the
constituency, Ben Tumbare-Mutasa.
On Tuesday party officials and a
small group of youth militia dragged chiefs, village headmen and church
leaders to a meeting where they were told to bring their followers to the
The rally is expected to mark the beginning of the campaign
for next year's parliamentary election in the Seke
Chiefs and headmen are required to compile registers of
their members which they will submit to party officials on the day of the
The clergy were also given an ultimatum to end all their
church services at 12 noon on Sunday to make way for the
After the service the church leaders are required to lead
their congregations to Arcturus Stadium where a roll call will be conducted
before the rally. Intimidating letters have already been served on
Church leaders confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that
they had received such letters demanding that they bring their members to the
This week some Zanu-PF youths rampaged through Arcturus
threatening to beat residents if they don't attend the rally.
party has been unable to stage a successful rally in Arcturus this
year. Their first attempt two months ago failed to take off owing to
The Independence and Unity Day celebrations
organised by the ruling party also failed to attract crowds. Both Murerwa and
Chihota could not be reached for comment.
Election supervisors still unpaid Itai Dzamara THE
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) is failing to pay $1 billion owed to
civil servants who supervised its voter registration exercise over
a two-month period.
ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma yesterday said they had
asked for more funds from government after exhausting their
"The ESC has not yet paid people who monitored and supervised
the registration of voters and carried out civic and voter education from 1
May to 14 July 2004 due to financial constraints," Bvuma said in a
written response to questions by the Zimbabwe Independent.
original allocation to the ESC has already been used up in the Gutu North,
Zengeza and Lupane parliamentary by-elections and in several local government
by-elections. The ESC has requested more money to finance
Each of the monitors had been promised a daily
allowance of $130 000 over a period of 75 days. The ESC monitors acted
together with officials from the registrar-general's office who were
conducting the voter registration ahead of next year's general
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede has prepared the voters'
roll despite electoral reforms promised by government to set up an
independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run next year's
Mudede refused to answer questions from the Independent on what
his role would be after the electoral reforms.
"Please be advised
that there has been a lot of publicity on the issues you are raising on the
underlined subject matter both in the print and electronic media. The
registrar-general has nothing more to add or comment," said a CA Goredema, on
behalf of the registrar-general's office.
Arda fails to pay Staff Writer THE cash-strapped
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) is failing to pay
companies transporting irrigation equipment and other farming implements to
its newly-acquired farms across the country, the Zimbabwe Independent heard
The contracted transport companies are now threatening to
withdraw their services from Arda citing non-payment.
said their businesses had been thrown into disarray as a result of Arda's
failure to honour its contractual obligations.
"Arda doesn't pay,"
one transporter said. "Just last week a cheque for
$500 million to one of
us (transporters) was dishonoured resulting in a furore.
business, if we relied on Arda, we would definitely be out of business. The
authority has been failing to pay us and we are tired of their
Efforts to get comment from Arda were fruitless as the chief
executive, Joseph Matowanyika, was said to be in Langkawi, Malaysia, with the
President at a smart partnership meeting.
White commercial farmers form new organisation Loughty
Dube EMBATTLED white commercial farmers have formed a regional organisation,
the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance (Sacfa), to fight for
The new group, which includes members from the
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and Justice for Agriculture (JAG), was
launched last month in Bulawayo. It is also expected to draw members from
Namibia, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.
The organisation will
press for equitable land redistribution in the region.
Former CFU leader
for Matabeleland province, Mac Crawford, was elected chairman of Sacfa, while
well-known commercial farmer and rancher, David Connelly, was elected his
Other members of the executive include Nyamandlovu Farmers
Association chairman Chris Jarrett and another Nyamandlovu farmer, Gay
Connelly confirmed the formation of Sacfa, which he said was a
result of a breakaway from the CFU by Matabeleland farmers.
were dissatisfied with the route the CFU was taking, so we decided that as
Matabeleland farmers we should break away and since August last year we have
been working towards an organisation of this nature," Connelly
However, Connelly said the organisation's focus was to
co-ordinate commercial agriculture in southern Africa and said they would not
dwell on the issue of fighting government over compensation.
is handling that at the moment and we are in total support of that but we
have problems with the CFU because they want to take another route," Connelly
Sacfa will also fight for a guarantee in respect of land title
and an end to nationalisation of farmland.
"Sacfa will press
specifically for a climate in which compensation for the devastation and
losses caused to commercial farmers is paid and that those who caused these
losses be held accountable," the group said.
Former white commercial
farmers are currently embroiled in legal wrangles with government over the
payment of compensation for seized properties.
farmers have been critical of the direction the CFU was taking in regard to
Moyo exposed Dumisani Muleya INFORMATION minister
Jonathan Moyo was allocated more than one farm despite his angry denials,
official documents show.
Documents from the Agriculture ministry indicate
that Moyo, who has been named together with other ministers as multiple farm
owners, was given Paterson Farm in Mazowe and Lot 2 of Dete in Hwange. He was
also linked to other farms in Matabeleland and Little Connemara in Nyanga. He
has however denied ownership of all but one farm, Paterson.
letter dated November 30 2001 and signed by Agriculture minister Joseph Made,
also named as a multiple farm owner, shows Moyo was allocated Paterson Farm
which measures 622,9 hectares.
The farm was described in the offer
letter, whose reference was "offer of state land holding, Model 2 Phase 11",
as state and not private land.
The letter said Made's then Ministry
of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement, which allocated Moyo the farm
under the Agricultural Land Resettlement Act, "reserves the right to
cancel/withdraw this offer if it is established that you failed to disclose
essential information when you completed your application or when you were
interviewed, such as the ownership or lease of other state
Despite the description of Paterson Farm as state land,
documents show that Moyo later went on to buy the property for a mere $6
million from Made's ministry. The documents indicate that Moyo wrote a Jewel
Bank cheque at the Westgate branch on July 22, 2002 as payment for the farm.
The bank's branch number was given as 6118 and the cheque number as 000003,
while the account number was (01211) 66058401. A stamped Agriculture ministry
receipt No 955419 shows that the payment was made on July 22, 2002 by "Prof
JN Moyo" whose address was given as P Bag 7700 Causeway,
The payment followed a letter written by Agriculture
permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka on April 29 2002 to Moyo informing him about
the cost of the land and improvements.
"Our valuation figure for
the improvements and land is $6 million," Masoka said. "That is the figure
that you are expected to pay for both improvements and land. The figure is
broken down as follows: improvements $1,894 million and land $4,106
Documents say "Prof JN Moyo", whose ID No was
63-0857281M-73, was also offered Lot 2 of Dete in Hwange which was estimated
to be 3 165,16 hectares.
A letter signed by Made confirmed that Moyo
was given the farm that was also described as state land. However, Moyo has
said the farm belonged to a Jackie Mayers, his cousin. Moyo has also denied
he owned another farm in Matabeleland, saying it belonged to his
A number of ministers and high-ranking Zanu PF and government
officials have been accused of using their influence to grab several farms
and using proxies to hide them. President Robert Mugabe has vowed to recover
the seized farms.
Zanu PF/MDC clash over reforms Dumisani Muleya ZANU
PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), having resumed
talks focused on the proposed electoral reforms, have clashed on how to
Zanu PF's chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa met with his MDC
counterpart, Welshman Ncube, on July 14 in Harare to discuss the electoral
reforms officially announced by President Robert Mugabe in parliament last
Although government has denied the resumption of the talks,
which collapsed soon afterwards, information to hand shows that Chinamasa and
Ncube met at parliament to discuss the issue.
Ncube confirmed the
meeting took place but could not give details.
"It is a matter of public
record that we have been meeting informally to find a road map to end the
current political impasse," Ncube said. "But it is now clear to us that Zanu
PF no longer wants the informal dialogue, let alone formal talks. So that's
Sources said Chinamasa and Ncube had a no-holds-barred
discussion on the proposals. The sources said Chinamasa and Ncube clashed
because the Zanu PF negotiator wanted to arm-twist the MDC into
rubber-stamping the reforms without amendment.
refused to make an undertaking that his party would back the proposals when
they come to parliament, saying there were contentious issues that needed to
be sorted out.
While Zanu PF wanted talks to be confined to the
electoral reforms, the MDC wanted full dialogue to address the broad Zimbabwe
The opposition wanted talks to include an end to political
violence and intimidation, restoration of political and civil liberties,
upholding the rule of law, and creation of an environment for free and fair
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is gearing up for
the crucial Southern African Development Community (Sadc) meeting next month
by adopting electoral reforms and preaching the gospel of non-violence during
election campaigns ahead of next year's poll.
Political analysts said
Mugabe was making concessions on reforms to win the support of Sadc
colleagues who have helped prop up his regime.
University of Zimbabwe
analyst John Makumbe said Mugabe was engaged in a familiar juggling act to
pull the wool over stakeholders' eyes, while in fact remaining decisively
hide-bound and resistant to reform.
Makumbe said the proposed measures
were calculated to make Mugabe's life comfortable at the Sadc summit in
Mauritius next month. It would have been awkward, he said, for Zimbabwe to
adopt the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections draft
when it was not in compliance.
"It's clear the President is trying to
hoodwink Sadc leaders into believing that his proposed reforms will be
consistent with the Sadc norms and standards on elections," Makumbe
"When he gets there he is likely to say 'we have changed our system
and it's now compliant with the Sadc norms and standards on elections' when
it's evidently not. He is likely to make such claims but say nothing about
the repressive laws that make it difficult to have free and fair
Makumbe said the proposals were an "inconsequential package
of piecemeal reforms" that would make no difference. He said despite the hype
from seemingly gullible civic groups and commentators, "the rigging of
elections will continue at the National Command Centre which will remain
It was not possible, Makumbe said, to have fundamental political
reforms, while a raft of repressive laws such as the Public Order and
Security Act, the Access to Information & Protection of Privacy Act,
Broadcasting Services Act, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Amendment)
Act and the Miscellaneous Offences Act remained. "Sadc leaders will be
shocked to realise that after further assurances of reform, the situation
will remain the same and political violence will intensify ahead of the
election," he said.
"Most of these people hailing the so-called
reforms are joking, they don't know Zanu PF. It will push its own people
through parliament to run the elections and all MDC nominees will be
rejected. This means there will be no change."
Of late government has
been wavering between piecemeal reforms and panicky repression. While Mugabe
promised electoral reforms last week, he at the same time threatened further
repressive legislation to deal with NGOs and a Security of Communications
Bill designed, presumably, to gag the Internet and telephones.
has been giving clear signals that he was preparing for the Sadc meeting,
especially after his humiliation at the recent African Union (AU) summit in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Zimbabwe hogged the limelight in Ethiopia - as usual
for all the wrongs reasons - after a damning AU Commission on Human and
People's Rights report on the country's human rights situation and state of
The Sadc draft puts Zimbabwe in an invidious position. While
the draft proposes comprehensive changes, Zimbabwe basically wants
limited modifications to the electoral system.
The regional draft
encourages Sadc members to "establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and
accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel, as well
as competent legal entities including effective constitutional courts to
arbitrate in the event of disputes arising from the conduct of
It also says they must "safeguard human and civil liberties
of all citizens, including freedom of movement, assembly, association,
expression and campaigning".
Sadc member states are further encouraged
to "take necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of
fraud, rigging, or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral
Although Zimbabwe's reforms have been dismissed as cosmetic,
Mugabe has been highly voluble about them and the need for a "peaceful and
nonviolent election campaign".
The ruling Zanu PF and government have
also been marketing their "sweeping reforms", purportedly aimed at improving
the electoral framework and environment for free and fair
Last week Mugabe told parliament that the reforms, which have
triggered a mixed reaction from stakeholders, would soon be introduced in
He said there would be an independent electoral commission,
voting in one day instead of two, counting of votes at polling centres and
not at the centralised National Command Centre and use of transparent, not
"On the basis of both the national debate and, of
course, our experiences in running elections since 1980, government is
proposing far-reaching reforms to our electoral law," Mugabe
"These proposed chan-ges, which also take into account ongoing
regional consultations on developing electoral norms and standards for Sadc,
envisage the creation of an independent electoral commission as the principal
player in running all our elections."
A Bill on the modifications of
the Electoral Act, the principal law governing elections in Zimbabwe, has
been drafted and is expected to be introduced for debate in the House of
Assembly in September.
Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change are currently engaged in delicate talks over the Bill despite furious
denials by the Department of Information and Publicity in Mugabe's
The Zanu PF leader of delegation to talks with the MDC, Patrick
Chinamasa, met with his opposition counterpart, Welshman Ncube, on July 14 in
Harare to discuss the proposals. The two clashed on key
Sources said Chinamasa and Ncube had a no-holds-barred debate and
clashed because Chinamasa wanted to dragoon the MDC into rubber-stamping
the reforms. Ncube refused to make an undertaking that his party would
nod through the proposals when they come to parliament without first
resolving contentious issues.
Whatever the differences between Zanu PF
and the MDC, Mugabe is likely to be content with the fact that the reforms
have been promised and there has been contact with the opposition because
this is likely to help his case for Sadc 's support at the Mauritius
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono this week painted
a picture of Zimbabwe's economy redolent with optimism that it was on the
mend. Such is the enthusiasm besetting Gono that he insisted the target of
200% inflation by the end of the year was achievable.
announced that the timeframe for his economic turnaround plan would be
brought forward from end-2008 to 2007.
He however said the country, which
registered negative gross domestic product (GDP) of minus 9% last year, would
again this year see a contraction of minus 5%.
In reality while Gono
may have staunched the haemorrhaging, the patient is still on his sickbed.
Even for the most optimistic, it is still too early to talk about jobs
created, the number of direct foreign investors, hefty export receipts let
alone positive GDP.
Gono all the same was upbeat this week. Like most
business leaders he understands what needs to be done. His optimism should
therefore be tempered by a good look at Zimbabwe's political environment
which is bound to deteriorate as the government gets into election
Gono announced new measures to attract foreign investment including
a guarantee to pay back the entire capital within three months if
investors decide to leave.
The success of any investment programme
will depend heavily on how Zimbabwe is viewed by source markets of new money.
All the evidence, from the IMF to the World Economic Forum, suggests that the
country is seen as one given to arbitrary and unpredictable measures, and to
selective enforcement of the law.
The governor has promised to crack
down on the black market by monitoring foreign currency bought at auctions.
He said forex sent from the diaspora would no longer be availed to recipients
in hard currency.
He raised the diaspora rate to US$:$5 600 from $5 300.
The greenback is now trading at US$:$7 500 on the parallel market, a rate 30%
higher than the controlled auction. The tight leash on the value of the
dollar designed to keep it in the range of the diaspora rate might see more
trading on the parallel market which threatens the Homelink
This sort of tinkering won't do the trick. There is need for
long-term measures which address the supply side of foreign currency. This
should in turn determine the real value of the Zimbabwe dollar. Currently
Zimbabwe has an overvalued currency that is not enough to go round - as the
markets are signalling.
Gono said the central bank was putting
together financial instruments to facilitate profitable investments by
Zimbabweans living abroad. One such facility is the Homelink Housing
Development Scheme to encourage investment in real estate. He also introduced
the "Carrot and Stick Export Retention Scheme" through which he wants to
encourage exporters to remit their export proceeds early. The scheme reduces
the surrender requirement from the mandatory 25% to lower rates commensurate
with timeframes of repatriation.
Gono did not however revise the US$:$824
rate which exporters are paid for surrendered foreign currency. He has
insisted on pegging the dollar when the rate has galloped off over the past
six months. Zimbabwe is not exporting enough to traditional markets to earn
forex and Gono's statement has not pumped new life into exporting companies,
especially those requiring forex to import inputs and machinery.
central bank governor introduced measures to encourage the setting up
of Export Processing Zone (EPZ) companies. In the past EPZ companies with
a foreign component of 40% and above were exempted from exchange
control regulation. Under the new measures the foreign ownership threshold
has been revised downwards to 25%. Companies covered by the new measures will
not be subject to surrender requirements.
While it is apparent that
the measures are meant to encourage joint ventures between foreign companies
and local firms, EPZs - especially those in the agro-processing sector - no
longer constitute safe business ventures. The lowering of the foreign
ownership threshold will not achieve much as long as there is no stability or
security for those still owning agro-businesses.
Charleswood and Kondozi
farms with EPZ status were expropriated violently. The latest amendment to
the Land Acquisition Act empowers government to acquire farms with EPZ
status. And the confiscation of farm equipment will send a very discouraging
message to investors of any sort who see it as theft.
It is such
policy aberrations that will invariably sabotage Gono's monetary policy whose
success hinges on the creation of a sound environment where business leaders
can make long-term decisions without fear of a predatory political
The raft of measures in Gono's 120-page presentation, pregnant
with detail, was a more thorough job than the wafer-thin Mid-Term Fiscal
Policy Review statement by the Acting Finance minister Herbert Murerwa on
Monday. Murerwa, who appears to have abdicated his responsibility to chart a
way for the country's economy to Gono, did not go very far in telling us the
pattern of expenditure by government. He presented a table that showed that
the spendfest by ministries was over. But that is no guarantee that the
money allocated has been expended judiciously. That breakdown was crucial
in detailing what funds were used for - especially by ministries carrying
out capital projects.
Gono's statement may however turn out to be a
good dance outside the arena as the country needs a strong fiscal policy
which ensures there is supervision of measures being implemented, especially
by government departments and leaky parastatals.
Gono for example
announced as of June 30 the central bank had disbursed $1,7 trillion as a
rescue package for productive sectors, with agriculture getting $744,5
billion, or 42,4% of the total sum. But giving money to the sector will not
alone be the panacea to dealing with depressed production.
government's fiscal discipline - invisible to many observers - and implored
ministries to operate within their budgets. But government's appetite to
spend what it does not have is likely to be whetted as next year's general
election looms and benevolence will scale new heights. Gono will have to find
the money. At which point his good intentions will be subject to a severe
THE extent to which the Chinese economy has developed and grown in
recent years is impressive in the extreme. In less than one-and-a-half
decades it has transformed itself from an economy that was so frail and
debilitated that almost all of China's vast population was impoverished to
one which has become the fifth-largest economy in the world, and is widely
expected to be its greatest by 2010.
It is an economy wherein per
capita income is rising exponentially, state-of-the-art technology is
becoming the order of the day, inflation has fallen dramatically, the
currency has strengthened markedly and is now very stable, and China is
becoming a major global player in the field of foreign direct investment
However, the magnitude of China's achievements is tainted by the
very great extent to which its export operations - or, to be more correct,
its mode of conducting those operations - have weakened the already fragile
economies of many under-developed, and previously developing, countries. To a
not insignificant degree, Chinese economic growth has been realised by
it resorting extensively to what can only be termed as unfair trade
Without in any manner belittling the meaningful economic
growth that China has attained through constructive economic programmes, it
is incontrovertible that some of its growth has not only been achieved at
the expense of other economies, but that such achievement has been realised
by ensuring that China and the other countries did not, and do not, trade
upon a level playing field, but upon one which is inequitably slanted in
favour of China.
Very regrettably, one of those gravely prejudiced
countries is Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean economy has been adversely afflicted by
gross governmental economic mismanagement, by alienation of former
international friends and trading partners and by politically driven
decimation of much of the economic infrastructure.
As if this were not
sufficient to drive that which could have been a virile economy - benefiting
the populace - to near extinction, that economy has now been subjected to yet
another devastating body blow, and is continuing to suffer a recurrence of
those blows. That body-blow is a flooding of Zimbabwe with immense
quantities of Chinese textiles, clothing, footwear, steel and other products,
retailing at prices which are at a fraction of the prices of locally produced
If China was stimulating massive demand for its products in
Zimbabwe through free and fair, open competition against the Zimbabwean
manufacturers of like goods, it could not be condemned for doing so. Instead,
the Zimbabweans would have to have an in-depth, considered evaluation as to
what they could be doing wrong to such an extent as to render them
Are their products quality-deficient compared to the
Chinese ones? Are their manufacturing operations inefficient, resulting in
excessively high operational costs and inability to realise economies of
scale? Are they over-pricing their products, either because of excessive
greed for massive profits, or because of arrogance that as those products are
domestically manufactured, national patriotism will be the catalyst of
If any of these would be the factors that are creating a
hunger in the market for the Chinese products, instead of for the Zimbabwean
ones, the considered reaction should be that the Zimbabwean manufacturers
deserve the prejudices suffered by their businesses. They would be reaping
their just desserts!
But wide-ranging and extensive investigations by
many of those who have suddenly lost their customer bases to the Chinese are
evidencing that, in most instances, is not the case. Instead, the Chinese
products are benefiting from unjustified advantages, many of which are in
direct conflict with the policies, rules and regulations of the World Trade
Organisation (WTO), and others which are founded upon circumventions of
Zimbabwean fiscal laws.
Whether the perpetrators of those
circumventions are the Chinese suppliers or the Zimbabwean importers is not
clear-cut, and can only be established by detailed investigation by the
relevant Zimbabwean authorities.
The allegations of the distressed
Zimbabwean enterprises that have found it impossible to compete against the
Chinese products are manifold. They include contentions that the Chinese
manufacturers receive labour cost subsidies and export incentives far beyond
those permitted under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of the
So great are those subsidies and incentives that many of the
finished products retail in Zimbabwe at prices which are markedly below the
material cost to the Zimbabwean manufacturer, let alone costs of manufacture.
Thus, for example, a T-shirt from China will be sold to the Zimbabwean
consumer for less than the yarn content cost which would be borne by the
Zimbabwean manufacturer to make a similar T-shirt.
manufacturers also argue that, even if unintentionally, the government
facilitates competition by the Chinese producers through application of
duties which are so insignificant in extent as to be virtually meaningless.
They cite a duty being payable upon imports of clothing of a niggardly $100
per kg, which rate has applied since the exchange rate was approximately US$1
to $18. Had the rate of duty moved in tandem with exchange rate movement, the
duty that would now be payable would be approximately $30 000 per
However, the Zimba-bwean importer of manu-facturing inputs,
including fabrics, trimmings, dyestuffs and consumable spares must pay duty
on the import of those inputs based upon the currently prevailing foreign
currency auction's weighted exchange rate! No one can credibly suggest that
that reflects a level of playing field.
The embattled Zimbabwean
manufacturers also contend that their enquiries and investigations have shown
that to a considerable extent the import of Chinese manufacturers has been
without any incidence whatsoever of customs duties and value-added tax (VAT).
They allege that many container loads enter Zimbabwe under documentation
claiming that the container contents are personal effects of Chinese citizens
arriving to take up residence in Zimbabwe in order to pursue investment in
the country in terms of the present friendship and collaboration
circumstances between the Zimbabwean and Chinese governments.
contention is that either in the light of those
inter-governmental relationships, or for other untoward motivations, certain
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials do not inspect the containers and,
therefore, do not expose the documentary misrepresentations.
no incontrovertible evidence has been given that this is
occurring, nevertheless the possibility thereof must be acknowledged, for it
is otherwise difficult to contemplate how Zimbabwe could suddenly have
been flooded with Chinese goods at unbelievably low prices. Certainly, even
in instances where disclosures are correct and complete, it is very
evident that Zimbabwe is not applying the WTO anti-dumping
Moreover, there are strong indications that many of the
products are entering Zimbabwe by way of operations of cross-border traders,
many of whom have become exceptionally adept at circumventing import duty and
VAT obligations, whether by recourse to smuggling or by unlawful
interaction with some corrupt Zimra officials. That this is probably the case
is supported by the fact that the Reserve Bank does not make available
foreign currency for imports of fabric other than as is to be used in
manufacturing processes, or for imports of non-essential finished products of
a nature as also produced in Zimbabwe.
In yet other instances, the
Chinese importers are willing to accept payment in Zimbabwean currency,
applying the proceeds to new investments in Zimbabwe. But this is contrary to
governmental intent that foreign direct investment much encompass inward
capital remittances. Clearly the Zimbabwe Investment Centre and Export
Processing Zones Authority must monitor that approved investments are funded
with specified foreign currency inflows.
The consequences of the vast
quantities of Chinese goods, imported under such circumstances, as now appear
in most Zimbabwean wholesaler and retailer operations, and as have become
stock-in-trade for small-scale operators in Mbare, Highfield, Chitungwiza and
elsewhere, are both far-reaching and very negative. Many Zimbabwean
manufacturers have already had to resort to downsizing of their operations,
and many others are facing closure. As a result, many thousands more will
soon become unemployed, if that has not already happened to them in the last
The scaling down of manufacturing operations, or their
closure, also results in cessation of downstream economic spending by those
operations, to the severe prejudice of many other enterprises. In addition,
the fiscus suffers significantly, with diminished inflows by way of income
tax on profits, PAYE on employee earnings, VAT and other revenues. The only
minimal positive flowing from the situation is the extent that informal
sector traders are enjoying greater sale volumes and
Government must urgently address theissues. Stringent compliance
with legislated import procedures must be enforced, tariffs must be
realistically reviewed upwards, and inward remittance of investment funds
must be enforced. If that is done, trade with China can, and should,
continue, for Zimbabwe should not constrain international trade.
it must do is ensure that that international trade is conducted fairly and
transparently, so that the Zimbabwean and Chinese manufacturers operate on a
level playing field, competing primarily on a basis of quality, but also on
price - when price reduction is not achieved by excessive subsidisation by
the supplier country. Ministers Herbert Murerwa and Samuel Mumbengegwi need
to act assertively and rapidly!
IT is difficult not to feel just a little sorry for Lovemore Mataire. Here is
the editor of a party newspaper chosen for his obedience, not to
say enthusiasm, for the Zanu PF cause when writing as an editorialist in
the state media. Upon the basis of that misguided loyalty he was duly
promoted to editor of the tired and little-read party mouthpiece, The
From there he was expected to toe the party line and generally
continue with the slavish tradition exemplified by the geography teacher
Caesar Zvayi whose ignorant and hate-filled posturing gives Zimbabwean
journalism, not to mention teaching, a bad name.
Now Mataire is under
fire as he finds himself caught up in the internecine war for the succession
to President Mugabe. His crime was to have innocently referred to talks
between Zanu PF and the MDC on the much-touted
These informal contacts are now common cause and as
the proposed reforms bear a remarkable resemblance to those being advanced by
the MDC, it is hardly surprising that observers should point to their source,
which in private is not denied.
Civics and regional governments have
also played their part in getting Zanu PF to adopt measures it was implacably
hostile to only a few months ago.
But the Department of Information and
Publicity immediately put out a statement, in the florid language which
provokes so much national mirth, calling The Voice's report "a complete
falsity" and its editor "ideologically confused".
"It is appalling
that an editor of an organ of the ruling party can get it so wrong," the
It's appalling that state media are being
treacherously abused by officials in the Information department who should
clearly explain the national interest as opposed to their petty wars with
Nathan Shamuyarira who appointed Mataire.
It was difficult to know
where the editor got the story given Patrick Chinamasa's denials, the
department's over-excited spokesman fumed. The proposed electoral reforms had
"fundamentally evolved from Zimbabwe's experiences since Independence", and
not from anywhere else, it was argued. Sadc was in the process of working out
its own electoral reforms. Not a single Sadc state has the set of electoral
reforms proposed by Zimbabwe on its statute books, it was
Except for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Zambia,
Malawi and Mozambique. They all have provisions contained in the Sadc
proposals. Only Zimbabwe is out of line, and has now been obliged to conform
if Sadc is to declare the March poll free and fair. There will also be
amendments to Posa and Aippa, we can safely predict, which will again be
presented as a Zanu PF initiative!
But what we want to know is why
officials of the Department of Information are issuing statements which
concern a Zanu PF newspaper? Should the complaint not have been addressed to
Shamuyarira and John Nkomo who are responsible for The Voice? Or can we
safely assume that this spat is yet another manifestation of the power
struggle that has seen the Herald hijacked for the use of one particularly
ambitious contender while his superiors are confined to the pages of the
party's equivalent of Pravda which, as was the case in the Soviet Union,
nobody reads except the nomenklatura?
Information department's spokesman should calm down a little before issuing
such manifestly self-interested statements. This latest effort reminds us of
Smokey Jones, a character in one of James Hadley Chase' s thrillers whose
reaction on the trigger is so fast that those who cross his path are rarely
able to open their mouths before they are gunned down. Readers will notice
that no other Zanu PF official has had access to the state media or a right
of reply since Smokey Jones, took over.
"I can say without equivocation
that this Bill in the original form was the most calculated and determined
assault on our liberties guaranteed by the constitution," said Eddison
Zvobgo, chairman of the parliamentary legal committee, of the original Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy law.
Unfortunately, when the
Bill was debated in parliament Zanu PF MPs thought only the MDC would be
outlawed from the media. By the time they wake up, most of them could have
lost their seats in next year's election.
It does appear that our
"uncolonised" friend Lowani Ndlovu won't go down without a fight. He is
furious that he has been called a "mafikizolo" and is apparently one of the
multiple farm owners. Never mind that there were errors in sending withdrawal
letters to wrong ministers. What is clear to everybody who has been following
this sordid land saga is that there are greedy fellows who don't want to
surrender land they stole from the people, the so-called "landless
President Mugabe said everyone who needs land would get it. That
includes the breed called mafikizolo. That includes MDC supporters who need
land. It is only those who are sick in the mind like Lowani who think only
Zanu PF supporters must benefit from a vital national resource such as
It was never announced as government or party policy that land
reform was for Zanu PF. That would be criminal and sow seeds of future
conflict. And Muckraker doesn't believe that was the intention of the party
leadership when they embarked on the land reform.
What the party is
now fighting is greed. Why should a few people, no matter their position in
the party or their role in the liberation war, want to eat more than their
fair share of national resources? Certainly clinging on to more than one farm
without disclosure amounts to corruption. And that is one of the things that
Mugabe has said he will root out. So Lowani Ndlovu and the cabal of multiple
farm owners he is trying to defend have nowhere to run.
note his claim this week that Land Reform ministry permanent secretary Simon
Pazvakavambwa has been colluding with some officials "to falsify records,
distorting them in the hope of creating and presenting a picture that has no
basis in reality".
That is a very serious charge and we hope
Pazvakavambwa will respond in equal measure. That is if he hasn't already
started receiving unsolicited advice from ambulance-chasing lawyers. So while
that is an interesting ball to watch, we still expect Lowani and his ilk to
return ill-gotten farms - including those allocated to "cousins".
is interesting in all this is that the high-level dispute has smoked out the
interested parties. Lowani is no longer even pretending to be anybody other
than the chief land-grabber and information-hogger. Whether it be Mugabe's
succession or talks between Zanu PF and the MDC, the man's insecurity is
there for all to see.
Ignatius Chombo wants to run Harare
council. He has become the virtual chief executive. We wonder why he wants to
perpetuate the illusion of following the law. If anything, he is wasting our
resources by appointing silly committees of party hacks whose verdict is
On Friday he decided it was time to fire the 13 MDC
councillors whom he suspended in June. That brings to 19 the number of
councillors that Chombo has dismissed from council, thereby subverting the
What is startling, if not shocking, is the minister
himself cannot spell out the offence the councillors committed. His biggest
case against them is simply that the Urban Councils Act gives him the power
to fire them. Not even the partisan Herald could find anything against the
councillors. All Chombo said was the councillors were "interfering in the
management of council affairs". This was after the councillors rightly
challenged ministerial meddling in council affairs.
In fact, Chombo's
behaviour in Harare exposes him as a village bully who is abusing the law to
incapacitate an elected body. If he is bitter that his party lost the capital
to the opposition why doesn't he go and rule from Zvimba where he was elected
MP? Ever since he was appointed Local Government minister, Harare residents
have never enjoyed the benefit of their decision to elect MDC councillors
after years of shoddy performance by Zanu PF at both local and central
government level. We wish Zanu PF was equally quick to deal with malfeasance
among its top officials.
We note that the fired councillors interviewed
by the Herald and on SW Radio Africa said their appeal to the courts was only
a formality because they had lost confidence in the judicial
This is a common refrain heard across the land and it is one
which the judiciary should take note of. Public confidence is fundamental to
an effective judicial system.
The most optimistic headline of
all time must surely be that in the Herald last Saturday: "Blitz flushes out
street vice." Needless to say there was little in the story to justify such
unrealistic claims. It is naïve in the extreme to expect the arrest of just
11 men to end a vice as pervasive as prostitution - the world's oldest
The writer told us he had driven in the Avenues area around
10pm and prostitutes and their potential clients had suddenly vanished from
Harare streets because of the police blitz.
"Also conspicuous by their
absence were kerb-crawlers," enthused the would-be voyeur. "Gone too were the
women who used to ply their trade along Samora Machel Avenue East and near
Avondale Shopping Centre."
Not surprisingly, by Monday the same paper had
another headline extolling the miracles of the ZRP operation. "Prostitution
blitz nets 14 more Harare men," ran the heading. We hope they won't be
telling us these were policemen wrongly arrested while posing as prospective
The most dire heading was in the Daily Mirror, "Battle for
Hwange rages on", in which the provincial administrator for Matabeleland
North allegedly wants Chombo to dissolve the local board because of financial
irregularities. We were told failure to deal with the problemthreatens the
town with "imminent collapse".
What does that mean, even before we
ponder the unimaginable where Chombo can save a town from collapse? Is the
administrator playing politics or does he think Harare residents are forever
grateful to Chombo for usurping the powers of an elected council? Let's get
While Lowani Ndlovu attacks Lands minister John Nkomo with
gusto in the Sunday Mail, his alter ego, Nathaniel Manheru in the Herald,
lashes out at Archbishop Pius Ncube with searing passion. We were told Ncube
lied about Zimbabwe in a BBC interview in London.
"Not only was the
'holy man' lying between his divine teeth; he made sure each lie was swollen
with earthly hyperboles."
A case of the pot calling the kettle black!
Muckraker doesn't have the good fortune of hypocrites such as Manheru who
advocate and impose 75% local content in the electronic media while watching
the godless BBC. So we don't know precisely what lies Ncube is accused of
telling the British. But Manheru's advice should be noted: "The best medicine
is to ignore the idiot; to leave him to wallow in his uncatholic
Indeed, all idiots should be ignored whatever their
The little we do know, of course, is that Archbishop Ncube has
consistently refused to collaborate with Zanu PF in its culture of torture
and violence against opponents. While most church leaders have looked the
other way in the face of mounting repression, Ncube has dared to be different
and speak his mind as informed by his conscience. It is an unforgivable sin
to have a conscience in Zimbabwean politics. That is Ncube's greatest
Muckraker recently wrote about "Toilet" Tambaoga's
scatological Agrimende song. A reader this week e-mailed us complaining of
offensive language in the Herald. Pius Ncube is described in the paper's
Comment on Saturday as having "mental diarrhoea" and the MDC's proposed Broad
Alliance is sneered at as "masturbatory". Ncube is described by Manheru as
spitting "uncooked saliva" in his BBC interview.
Responding to a
letter published in the Zimbabwe Independent last week in which a reader
wanted to know why he is always critical of Tony Blair and George Bush's
policies and the opposition MDC but says hardly anything against Mugabe,
Manheru responds thus: "As to why I continually criticise the dead MDC, well
it is to make sure it's thoroughly dead, this browning, brooding excreta we
should never ever allow another white man to shit and deposit on our
We wish to commend this encyclopaedia of hate speech and uncouth
language to our ethics police led by Tafataona Mahoso. When President Robert
Mugabe recently smugly told viewers that he only read the Herald did he know
this is what it prints? Is that what he wants his children to read? And it
claims to be a family newspaper! My foot.
increased its tariffs by almost 390%. According to New Ziana, the new rates
are four times those for January. In summary, this is what the rate hikes
mean: a three-minute local call now costs $585 from $120, Internet services
cost $235 from $48 per minute.
A spokesperson for the telephone company
said the rates were a result of "maintenance costs". This is a company in
which government is the majority shareholder. Inflation is currently around
350%. The question is, if government entities are hiking rates above
inflation, what faith are ordinary consumers supposed to have in claims of an
economic recovery and falling inflation? How are workers expected to absorb
these rate increases except by demanding higher wages, which entail a spiral
of price increases all round?
No going back: Gono Ngoni Chanakira RESERVE Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono says he will continue revamping the country's
financial services sector to boost the economy, even if it means ruffling
some feathers in the process.
"We cannot just watch the economy and do
nothing about it," Gono told businessdigest after his monetary policy review
presentation on Tuesday.
"During my travels in the diaspora, I discovered
that there is a lot of goodwill still remaining out there. There are
individuals who are prepared to help us."
Zimbabwe is facing a
serious foreign currency crisis that has resulted in commerce and industry
almost grinding to a halt. As of December 2003, total external arrears were
estimated at US$2 billion, up from $1,3 billion at the end of December
Exports have continued to fall as industry shuts down, further
worsening unemployment which now stands at 80%.
say Gono cannot achieve the economic revival stunt on his own.
need a strong fiscal policy which works hand in hand with the
monetary policy," Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe chief
executive officer Mike Ndudzo said.
"Industry is still operating
without clear guidelines on some things. The governor needs help in this
Last month Gono went on a three-nation crusade to the United
States (Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Washington), the United
Kingdom (London, Birmingham and Oxford) and Johannesburg, South Africa, in a
bid to sell his "Homelink" programme to Zimbabweans living
He urged locals in the diaspora to send money home using
official channels instead of the parallel market to which they had become
On Tuesday five Zimbabweans from the South Africa Chapter
of the RBZ's diaspora team attended Gono's presentation and pledged to
support the governor as long as policies were "clear".
held a meeting with Gono and the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, David
Parirenyatwa, where they pledged to come up with a project proposal about how
Zimbabwe could tap into diaspora funds, especially from those citizens who
were not interested in the country's "politics".
Some Zimbabweans in
the diaspora have pointed out to Gono that they will not repatriate money to
Zimbabwe before there is a regime change in the country.
also questioned why they should invest in a nation where they are not allowed
to vote and which the majority of them left because of political persecution
and death threats.
"Not all Zimbabweans in the diaspora are rabble
rousers and traitors," said Munyukwi Kahari, spokesperson of the South
African-based business executives, who is a banker by profession. "It is like
saying that when one moves from their rural area into the city they have
become traitors. No, it is all about a better standard of
Parirenyatwa said he was pleased the Zimbabweans had decided
to invest back home.
"The health sector needs your support," he
said. "We can come up with many schemes where you can come
Zimbabwe recently had its request for US$218 million support for
its HIV and Aids programme thrown out by the international donor community
amid reports that the country is losing more than 3 000 individuals weekly
through the HIV and Aids scourge.
Gono said individuals who
labelled him a "sellout" did not disturb him because he was trying to shore
up the economy, which continues to contract.
In his presentation on
Tuesday, Gono said there were those "self-proclaimed experts" in some
segments of society bent on "derailing the momentum of the economic recovery
programme through a proliferation of thumb-sucked and overly pessimistic
trajectories on the country's economic performance in
"Upon themselves, these experts have bestowed
monopoly of accurate forecasts, monopoly of wisdom, which wisdom only sees
and prescribes that the Zimbabwean economy can only go down one path: that of
deterioration with no capacity or prospects of recovery," Gono
"They will believe anything negative but will refuse to accept
reality even if such reality is staring them in the face. They are happy to
feed our external partners with falsehoods which see no good at all and your
central bank has spent frustratingly incredible amounts of time, energy
and resources explaining away fiction from facts, instead of concentrating
on the job at hand - that of guiding the economy towards
However, analysts point out that the Zimbabwean economy
has been underperforming because of corruption and the abuse of facilities
caused by lack of supervision.
Parastatals continue to reap where
they do not sow.
"To these experts who are making a living out of
this practice this is what we, as monetary authorities, have for them:
Zimbabwe's economy is destined towards only one direction, and this is the
full economic recovery route, with or without their flawed analyses," Gono
Locals exposed By Vincent
Kahiya A LEADING clothing manufacturer and retailer this week decided to take
up the cudgels to deal with cheap Asian merchandise which is threatening
to cripple the local clothing and leather industries.
advert in the Herald this week shows a man and a woman who appear awestruck
and embarrassed by the sight of two other characters in their "birthday
Accompanying the picture are these words; "Kana wakapfeka
zvekwa zhing-zhong hauna kupfeka. Wakashama. Uri mushwi. (If you are wearing
something from zhing-zhong you are undressed. You are
Zhing-zhong is the street lingo for products from Asia - mainly
China - which have hit the country.
The advert might be in bad
taste for those adorned in the cheap zhing-zhong apparels from footwear right
up to headgear including everything in between and beneath.
clothing and footwear being sold at flea-markets and in the Western area of
Central Harare do look presentable and well enough to cover all aspects of
human anatomy but the cheap imports have left local clothing retailers and
manufacturers exposed. The industry has over the years suffered as a result
of imports of second-hand clothing.
The entry of Asian imports has
deferred the recovery of the industry and with it jobs have been lost and
production lines closed at some factories.
But the distress call from
local industry has not moved government at all as the zhing-zhongs are
construed as an illustration of the commitment to promote stronger ties with
In parliament at the beginning of the month,
Industry and International Trade minister Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi brushed aside
questions on the durability of the cheap imports and spelt out what he was
doing to protect local manufacturers.
He said goods being imported
into the country were checked for durability
by the Standards Association
of Zimbabwe (SAZ).
The SAZ however denied this saying it requires
authority from government to check imported goods. Mumbengegwi repeats the
same assertions in a story we carry in the businessdigest adding that
consumers were free to make choices.
"Why should someone buy a more
expensive product when you can get it for less?" he asks.
translate the minister's empty response, his ministry has no programme
to protect local industry from cheap clothing imports.
Does it not
bother him that jobs could be lost in the clothing factories and at textile
companies? Or does he perceive the entry of the Chinese traders to be direct
foreign investment? Can Zimbabwean businessmen walk into China and saturate
the market there with Bata shoes and Pilot shirts? Does free trade mean
absolute freedom to move goods across borders?
Also exposed by the
zhing-zhong wave is Zanu PF stalwart, indigenisation exponent and shoe
manufacturer Philip Chiyangwa. His leather products company Midiron, a
subsidiary of Native Investments - which last week signed a US$20 million
deal with an SA firm - is under threat "due to the influx of cheaper products
from Asia". Mumbengegwi says Zimbabwean goods must compete.
is however looking West to sell more shoes and leather products.
intend to venture into the European markets as various enquiries have been
made from these parts of the world but were not developed further due to
capacity constraints," he said at the signing ceremony last
But compare this with President Mugabe's position in his
speech to parliament on Tuesday last week;
"Mr Speaker, I have
consistently exhorted the business sector to break the spell cast on them by
colonial history, a spell that irrationally attaches them to the West for
investments, imports, exports, loans and even for best practices. This
neo-colonial depe-ndence syndrome has been our
Remember party policy Cde Phil:Look
President Mugabe was in Malaysia this week to attend a South-South
junket - the Langkawi Smart Partnership Dialogue.
We await the
implementation of a number of projects which the government says would pan
out of the Look East policy.
The nation has been told of the
establishment of a computer assembly plant, DVD assembly lines, a US$2,5
billion agro-export deal with a Malaysian company to benefit some 35 000 old
and newly-resettled farmers. With this Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono does
not need Homelink!
But here is an unfortunate spin-off from the Look
It has been learnt that the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare has left cheap zhing-zhong condoms with names like Molly and Alice -
manufactured in China - and Karex of Malaysia to be distributed at Zimbabwe's
border posts. The influx of the untested condoms "being sought after like hot
cakes" was celebrated in the Sunday Mail which came up with this marketing
message: "They are known to cause a burning sensation in both parties
during intercourse which makes them a hit among those in the sex
We were also told that they often break during sex as they
are too small for African men. Reaction from government on the distribution
of these condoms, which do not have expiry dates, has been a convenient
silence - even if the sex appendages are illegal and a huge risk to the
Compare this with the chorus of disapproval this month after
it was discovered that Care International inadvertently distributed a
tainted sorghum seed variety in Masvingo last year.
Parirenyatwa, please do something about Molly, Alice and
Zimbabwean men being tingled by these condoms should take heed of
the ad: "Kana wakapfeka zvekwa zhing-zhong hauna kupfeka."
Economic failure confronts Mugabe more sharply than opposition
parties and foreign critics
The African Union summit in Addis
Ababa formally accepts a devastating critique of the government's human
rights abuses. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation lambasts
the government's land reforms and claims of a bumper harvest. The
International Monetary Fund blames the government's failed policies for
encouraging capital flight and emigration. And the 80-year President Robert
Mugabe rides in his Rolls Royce to open parliament on 20 July, with no
visible plan for an imminent retirement. Zimbabweans understand that the real
purpose of legislation is the opposite of that expressed in the title. Thus
the Public Order and Safety Act is used to bar civil society groups and
opposition parties from protesting, while ruling party militias attack
citizens with impunity. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act has been used to bar independent journalists and close down private
newspapers such as the Daily News. As for the Anti-Corruption bill, even
party loyalists fear it will be used for political victimisation rather than
to cut graft. The day after Mugabe opened parliament, the outspoken
Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, was in London to launch the Zimbabwe
Defence and Aid Fund, for victims of state oppression. Government loyalists
have pursued Ncube with death threats and harassed his congregation, but
Jesuit-educated Mugabe has stopped short of incarcerating dissident
churchmen. This may now change.
the economic nightmares with which he has to contend daily, Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono is a relaxed man. He speaks gaily of economic
challenges, never of difficulties or crises. He is also demonstrably godly,
in the evangelical mode. Combining the two qualities, Gono beams a beatific
smile when asked for irritating details about Zimbabwe's latest financial
arrangements by nosey journalists or tetchy creditors. Gono has a disarming
habit of calling his inquisitors 'my brother' which may take the sting out of
killer questions. A visitor to the Reserve Bank was impressed to hear his
secretary inform Governor Gono that 'number one' was on the line. Coolly Gono
took the phone and began a casual phone call about payments for overseas
school fees with Mugabe, exhibiting none of the deference and fawning that
can accompany presidential calls. So close are the two that some suspect
Mugabe's plan is to push Gono forward as candidate for the prime minister's
post he wants to create if or perhaps when Zanu PF get their two-thirds
majority in next year's elections and change the constitution. Gono fits the